Toronto’s first Eataly location is opening on Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. – and one of its neighbours couldn’t be happier.
Housed in the Manulife Centre, the world-renowned Eataly features three levels which will be home to a fresh market, a grocery store, four restaurants, six bars, counters and coffee shops all within 50,000-square-feet.
It’s another unique dining and living experience being added to the fashionable and popular Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood.
“Since its opening in 2007, Eataly has completely changed the way people look at previously separate retail categories such as restaurants, grocery stores, and food halls,” said Noorez Lalani, president of MOD, developers behind the nearby 55C condo development, a 48-storey building, with 541 units, that is expected to be completed in 2023.
Both Eataly and 55C are positioned strategically in the heart of Toronto’s most fashionable locale.
“They (Eataly) have since opened dozens of stores around the world in the most fashionable neighbourhoods of cities such as New York, Paris, Tokyo, Rome, Istanbul and São Paulo,” said Lalani.
“Their decision to open their Toronto location in the ManuLife Centre, in the heart of the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood, further strengthens the argument that Bloor-Yorkville is the true heart of the city when it comes to the newest and best in culinary experiences.”
In an interview earlier this year with Jake Edmiston of the Financial Post (FP), Andrea Guerra, Eataly’s executive president, described what Torontonians will encounter: “It’s an experience. This is what you need to think about. It’s a bit like going to a theatre, where you’re not observing a play but you’re enjoying it, you’re part of it. If you really want a specific comparison, I would go for the traditional open-air food markets in Italy where you have people sitting down in a bar, you have people buying fresh food and there would be a little place where you can have some food and drink some wine. This is what we are. We’re not a supermarket, we’re not a restaurant, we’re not a food hall, we’re not a food court.”
Toronto is the first opening, but Guerra envisions possible future expansion into Montreal or Vancouver. And perhaps even a second Toronto location.
Guerra also told the FP that “First of all, Toronto probably — being the largest city — could host a second Eataly. And then, between Montreal and Vancouver, there could be another Eataly. I really think Canada can be a big place for us. The basic culture of Canada is much closer to Europe than to the United States.”
Eataly already has close to 40 locations around the world, but this first one in Toronto has been eagerly awaited by food fans. It first opened in 2007 in Torino, Italy. It was founded by consumer electronics entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti, who converted a closed vermouth factory into the first Eataly.
The Eataly “experience” has been described by The New York Times as a “megastore” that “combines elements of a bustling European open market, a Whole-Foods-style supermarket, a high-end food court and a New Age learning center.”
Eataly and 55C are not the only gems being added to the Bloor-Yorkville area.
W Hotel, Marriott International’s luxury and millennial-targeted brand, is opening a 9-storey, 255-room property located at 90 Bloor Street East in the same neighbourhood. Toronto’s W will be surrounded by high-end boutiques, galleries and design studios, chic cafes, polished bars, and fine-dining restaurants.
The $40 million project got underway in July and is slated to open in 2020. W Hotels are already operating in Montreal, New York, California, China, Australia, Mexico, and Spain. Their design, focus and attitude attracts celebrities, musicians, and influencers – and approving millennials.
Gary Switzer, MOD’s chief executive officer, sees W Hotels as yet another perfect fit for Bloor-Yorkville.
“W Hotels, a brand that transformed the hotel industry through its focus on design and fashion, has been seeking a home in Toronto for at least 20 years, and during this time looked at sites all over the city,” said Switzer.
“The fact that they chose to be on Bloor Street East, between Yonge and Church, (around the corner from our development 55C), validates our own decision in choosing to locate our new project in this great neighbourhood.”
Also opening in the same area this year are a Birks (with a VanCleef & Arpels boutique), a Shoppers Drug mart, an Over the Rainbow and another Pilot Coffee.